If you have an account on Instagram, then you’ve most likely seen, or even done, at least one Instagram story bingo out of the thousands that exist.
Story bingos, for those who are unaware or do not have an Instagram, are game templates that people put on their Instagram stories. These templates can range from any topic you can think of, from travel, to food, and even to zodiac signs. After screenshotting the bingo card, you then mark all the squares on the board that you have done or apply to you, post it on your story, and sometimes tag friends, challenging them to do it as well.
Now, I’ve never been one for publishing bingo games on my story. Yes, I’ll screenshot, fill one out, and pointlessly save it to my camera roll for a few days, but I’ll never actually go through with posting it and broadcasting what I have and haven’t done. I’m not sure if it’s an insecurity or a privacy thing, but it’s never made me completely comfortable.
However, due to the quarantine involving COVID-19, Instagram bingo stories have made a comeback like never before. Now, there are bingos specifically for “things you have/haven’t done in quarantine.” My own best friend challenged me to fill one out, and it wasn’t until I screenshotted it and looked over the squares that I realized how much of an opportunity has been given to me by the universe in the form of quarantine. There are so many things I have always wanted to try, or dedicate time to, that school has prevented me from doing. Now, with the adjusted online schedule, I have all the time in the world to make the most of my days at home.
With my new resolve to accomplish as much of the story template as possible in two weeks, I created my own Instagram story game by compiling 24 different ideas from various quarantine bingo templates I could find. Then, I set out to do everything on it.
I first started with the squares I considered the easiest—going for a walk in the park due to my close proximity to Lockridge, taking breaks in between homework to video call my friends, writing them letters, binging season one of “The Good Place,” and using a homemade mask to do my part in slowing the outbreak. Quickly, though, I realized that these were all activities I would have done regardless; the point of the bingo was for me to expand my boundaries, not remain within them.
So, over the course of a week and a half, I moved purposefully through the squares that I would have never considered on my own. I took time out of my day to play a “Stranger Things”/’80s-themed trivia game. I created a workout routine using the app “Workout Women,” and attempted yoga and meditation outside of gym class for the first time. I leapt into the intimidating world of Pinterest DIYs and, through something akin to witchcraft by creating an Easter decoration out of a sock and some rice. All of these were exploits that I could never fathom doing in my regular schedule, but miraculously, in a time of crisis, I managed to not only do these activities, but fully enjoy them.
One of the most memorable aspects of this experience though, was the pieces of my past that I managed to find without even trying. For the first time in years, I took the time to sit down and finish a 500-piece puzzle, much like the ones my grandma and I would do when I was a child. I spent an evening with my mom, tilling the garden that I used to sit and play in for the upcoming spring. I found the time to genuinely bake cupcakes for fun just because I wanted to, not because I needed to for a fundraiser or bake sale.
This “experiment” opened my eyes to not only the reason people are so fascinated with Instagram bingos and the little things they have accomplished day to day, but also to the gift of expanding your regular horizons. We often get so caught up in the structured schedule of daily life—school, then activities, then homework, then repeat—that we forget how priceless it can be to just relax, play a board game, and listen to a new podcast or song.
Thankfully, quarantine has reminded me of this—and maybe the next time I’m spiraling from the stress of school and my other responsibilities, I’ll remember that there is always more to life if you make sure to look for it.